If you or your child have asthma, you probably know developing an asthma treatment plan is essential to managing the condition. Treatment for asthma can include medications, decreasing exposure to allergens and lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking.
In some instances, it can be helpful to attend an asthma clinic for management of asthma.
What Is an Asthma Clinic?
An asthma clinic provides specialized care for people with asthma. Asthma clinics are helpful for both people who think they may have asthma — so they can get an accurate diagnosis — and people who already know they have the condition.
Most clinics are affiliated with a hospital or medical center. Asthma clinics work with the patient to confirm a diagnosis and also develop an effective treatment plan. They also work with families to develop strategies that will help avoid asthma triggers in the home.
What Is Available at an Asthma Clinic?
The services provided at an asthma clinic may vary, but typically clinics offer diagnostic testing, medical management of asthma and education. The services are broken down further and may include the following:
Spirometry is a type of breathing test that helps your doctor confirm a diagnosis of asthma.
Although not all cases of asthma are associated with allergies, many are. Allergy testing often involves administering small amounts of a substance that is suspected to be an allergen. The allergen is delivered through a small skin prick on the surface of the skin.
Exams and Evaluations
Asthma clinics also provide physical exams and evaluations of symptoms to determine the treatment needed and evaluate if your current treatment is effective.
Development of a Written Asthma Action Plan
An asthma action plan helps you understand how to manage your disease, when to call the doctor and what to do in an asthma emergency. The specialists at an asthma clinic will develop a written asthma action plan you can follow at home. If you have school-age children, a plan can also be provided to the school.
Education in Asthma Management
Understanding how and when to take certain medications is vital to preventing asthma symptoms. Asthma clinics provide education to learn how to take medications appropriately. They also provide information and tips on reducing asthma triggers and preventing infections that could worsen asthma.
Some asthma clinics also offer research studies that you may be able to participate in. Although being involved in a study is not mandatory, some people might want to participate.
Certain asthma clinics offer specialty services, such as treating pediatrics or people with hard to manage asthma.
How Can Going to an Asthma Clinic Help My Asthma?
Going to an asthma clinic is a great way to effectively manage the disease. It is also helpful to learn more about the condition. Whether you have asthma or a family member does, an asthma clinic provides education on how to treat the disease.
The severity of asthma varies widely. However, even frequent asthma flare-ups can usually be effectively managed. But asthma can be a complicated disease with a large variety of triggers. For example, stress, exercise and allergens may cause asthma symptoms to flare up.
When it comes to asthma, many factors can contribute to how well the condition is managed. Many of those factors are controllable. Learning as much as possible about the disease through an asthma clinic can help you learn to manage the condition more efficiently.
There are also different treatment options, including several different types of medication. Treatment for asthma is not a one-size-fits-all prescription. Individual factors determine if certain treatments are effective. At an asthma clinic, a team of specialists evaluates and determines the best treatment option for you.
Asthma clinics are staffed with specialists, such as pulmonologists (lung doctors), respiratory therapists and certified asthma educators. Physician assistants that specialize in respiratory diseases, as well as nurse practitioners, are also employed at an asthma clinic.
These teams of specialists are experts in treating asthma. They can often provide education, monitor your condition and manage the disease more effectively than a primary care doctor.
Who Needs an Asthma Clinic?
Anyone with asthma can benefit from going to an asthma clinic. A clinic is like a one-stop-shop for treating and managing asthma. But it can be especially helpful if it is a new diagnosis and you are not familiar with what asthma involves.
Asthma can be a frightening disease. Problems breathing often lead to anxiety. An asthma clinic helps people with asthma and their families recognize early warning signs of an attack and learn how to treat it. Having the right knowledge helps someone with asthma have the confidence that they can manage their disease.
An asthma clinic is also useful for someone who has difficultly controlling their asthma. Specialists at the clinic are up to date on the latest research and treatments, which may help hard to control asthma.
How Do I Find an Asthma Clinic?
Finding an asthma clinic in your area might be as easy as doing an internet search. But your doctor is also a good source to help you find an asthma clinic that offers the services you need. You may also want to contact your health insurance provider to determine what costs are covered.